On June 14, 2017, Delaware Governor John Carney signed House Bill 1 prohibiting employers from requesting the salary history of job applicants. The purpose of this legislation is to help close the pay gap between men and women by stopping employers from using a salary history as a legitimate basis to pay a man more than a woman for comparable work. As stated by Governor Carney, “All Delawareans should expect to be compensated equally for performing the same work.” Similar laws have been gaining popularity across the nation, including in Massachusetts. The state of Massachusetts recently passed a similar bill that will prohibit employers from screening prospective employees based on their wage histories starting July 2018. Moreover, employers are prohibited from seeking salary history from the prospective employee’s current or former employer, unless the prospective employee provides a written consent or the information is a public record.
Under the new Delaware law, screening employees based on their salary histories is prohibited. Employers are prohibited from seeking the salary history of a job applicant from the applicant or a current or former employer. An employer or an employer’s agent may discuss and negotiate compensation expectations with the job applicant only if the employer or employer’s agent does not request or require the applicant’s salary history. However, once an offer of employment with terms of compensation has been made, an employer or employer’s agent may seek the applicant’s compensation history for the purpose of confirming the applicant’s compensation history. Violators are subject to penalties of not less than $1,000 or more than $5,000 for the first offense and not less than $5,000 or more than $10,000 for each subsequent offense.
The new law becomes effective December 1, 2017. Employers are encouraged to start reviewing and updating their hiring policies.